If anyone doubted that a percentage of the global population are akin to zombies, the incidents following the release of Pokémon Go have surely convinced you. Despite the game only being released in early July, we have already seen a man driving into a tree and a women getting locked in a graveyard whilst chasing these furry little creatures.
Pokémon describes the game on their website in the following way:
“Travel between the real world and the virtual world of Pokémon with Pokémon GO for iPhone and Android devices. With Pokémon GO, you’ll discover Pokémon in a whole new world—your own! Pokémon GO is built on Niantic’s Real World Gaming Platform and will use real locations to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon… In Pokémon GO, the real world will be the setting!”
Pokémon Go, Google, the State Department, the CIA and the DoD
The company behind Pokémon Go is a San Francisco software developer called Niantic, Inc, which was formed in 2010 as an internal startup at Google. The founder and current CEO of Niantic is John Hanke, a man who has connections both to the State Department and the CIA.
Before moving to San Francisco to study at the University of California, Hanke previously worked for the US State Department in Myanmar. Hanke also founded Keyhole, Inc in 2001, a company which specialized in geospatial data visualization applications. Google acquired the company in 2004, with many of the applications developed by Keyhole being instrumental in Google Maps and Earth. In 2003, the CIA’s venture-capitalist firm, In-Q-Tel, invested in Keyhole, with the CIA’s own website proudly detailing this investment:
“The CIA-assisted technology probably most familiar to you is one many of us use on a regular basis: Google Earth. In February 2003, the CIA-funded venture-capitalist firm In-Q-Tel made a strategic investment in Keyhole, Inc., a pioneer of interactive 3-D earth visualization and creator of the groundbreaking rich-mapping EarthViewer 3D system. CIA worked closely with other Intelligence Community organizations to tailor Keyhole’s systems to meet their needs. The finished product transformed the way intelligence officers interacted with geographic information and earth imagery.”
One of the other intelligence organizations the CIA worked alongside was the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), which is partly under the control of the US Department of Defense (DoD).
So we have a somewhat enigmatic former State Department employee with connections to the CIA and the DoD, being the CEO of a company that created what seems to be a silly, harmless game. What’s going on?
Selling and Sharing Your Data
Like so many new technologies in our digital age, Pokémon Go is constantly gathering information on the user and then openly admitting that they will share this data with anyone who wants it.
“We cooperate with government and law enforcement officials or private parties to enforce and comply with the law. We may disclose any information about you (or your authorized child) that is in our possession or control to government or law enforcement officials or private parties as we, in our sole discretion, believe necessary or appropriate.”
Corbett also details how the game requires the user to give excessive access to Niantic/CIA/NGA/DoD (including access to the users Google account and camera).
Oliver Stone on PG: “Totalitarianism” and a “New Level of Invasion”
Speaking at this year’s Comic-Con, Oliver Stone – the award winning filmmaker and director of the new film on Edward Snowden – had some very insightful views on the new craze and the growing business of data-mining. As Vulture magazine reported in a recent article, Stone denounced the game as a “new level of invasion” and a new form of “totalitarianism:”
“I’m hearing about it too; it’s a new level of invasion. Once the government had been hounded by Snowden, of course the corporations went into encryption, because they had to for survival, right? But the search for profits is enormous. Nobody has ever seen, in the history of the world, something like Google – ever! It’s the fastest-growing business ever, and they have invested huge amounts of money into what surveillance is; which is data-mining.”
“They’re data-mining every person in this room for information as to what you’re buying, what it is you like, and above all, your behavior. Pokémon Go kicks into that. It’s everywhere. It’s what some people callsurveillance capitalism; it’s the newest stage. You’ll see a new form of, frankly, a robot society, where they will know how you want to behave and they will make the mockup that matches how you behave and feed you. It’s what they call totalitarianism.”
Predicting Human Behavior
It is interesting that Stone doesn’t just warn about the commercial aspect of data-mining, but the fact that the more data governments and private corporations collect on the citizens of the world, the easier it becomes to predict their behavior. It is not just Stone that is warning about this reality however. At the start of last year, the UK governments own surveillance commissioner, Tony Porter, revealed how data obtained from CCTV cameras can be used to “predict behavior.”
As we progress through the 21st century and more advanced algorithmic systems are developed to process the tsunami of data, intelligence agencies and governments will increasingly be able to predict (and manipulate) the behavior of their populations and the populations of foreign countries. We are already far along this path, will the trajectory for the future heading straight towards levels of surveillance far beyond even what George Orwell envisaged; with the fight for digital privacy being a major battleground in this century for those who value freedom.
Pokémon Go looks more like a Trojan horse of the CIA and the wider intelligence-security-data-mining-Big-Brother complex, than just a silly, innocent game. With all these connections to the State Department, the CIA and the DoD, no wonder some countries are reportedly considering banning the game.
Justifying the War on Terror, George Bush huffed, “We’re fighting them there, so we don’t have to fight them here.” Broke, gullible or crazed Americans must be sent overseas to combat Al Qaeda, Bin Laden, the Taliban and ISIS. Otherwise, endless terror would devastate the homeland.
Periodically, terror plots must be orchestrated by the FBI to keep domestic fear from flagging, however. Flags at half mast stiffen limp fighting spirit.
Though Washington makes a show of denying it, the War on Terror is understood by the media-drugged as a war against Muslims, Israel’s eternal enemy.
As this open-ended assault on Muslims generated millions of Muslim refugees, Benjamin Netanyahu declared in March of 2016, “A strong Israel prevents the passage of masses of refugees to Europe. The world would be different if we were not here.”
Bibi got the second part right. Israel is the prime reason why there are so many Muslim refugees, and this world would be much more peaceful if your terror state disappeared. As long as Israel exists, there will be Muslims massacred or fleeing in terror from their wrecked homes.
Neoconservatism birthed the War on Terror. Founded by Jews, this movement’s main aim is to conserve Israel, even if they have to wreck the entire Middle East, disfigure Europe and ruin the United States. Jacob Heilbrunn explains in They Knew They Were Right: The Rise of the Neocons:
Neoconservatism was forged into an actual movement by [Irving] Kristol and Norman Podhoretz. Even today, the neoconservative movement is best described as an extended family based largely on the informal social networks patiently forged by these two patriarchs […] Not all of them were Jews—a fact that has been frequently pointed out by the neoconservatives themselves to refute the canard that neoconservatism is a Jewish movement. Fair enough. Yet the movement’s non-Jewish members were largely bound to the group by a shared commitment to the largest, most important Jewish cause: the survival of Israel.
Concocted by two rogue, undemocratic states, this War on Terror could be called off this very second, and the much ballyhooed terror threat would be instantly over. Many American lives would be saved, not just foreign Muslim ones.
Since the US and Israel need the War on Terror to terrorize, rape and degrade vast swaths of this earth, this farce must go on.
Like any growth industry, the US and Israel-backed Muslim Menace must conquer new markets. After skyscrapers, airports, train stations, stadia, government buildings, gay bars, marathons, flying shoes, sky high milk bottles and even airborne underwear, it was time to infiltrate European swimming pools, music festivals, shopping malls and fast food restaurants.
What better way to do this than to import millions of young Muslim men into Europe? Even if their homes haven’t been bombed by the US, Israel and NATO over the years, they might have other reasons to resent or despise the West.
Perfect. On top of all the individual shootings, knifings, gropings and rapes, the more spectacular terror events can be directed by the CIA and Mossad, those unmatched experts at exporting terror.
The Western public already know about mass sexual assaults in Egypt. These “circles of hell” have become increasingly common since 2005, with its most famous victim a 60 Minutes journalist, Lara Logan. Many Westerners also know about Pakistanis raping about 1,400 English girls, over 16 years, in Rotherham, England.
When I taught in Leipzig last year, two of my students, an Indian who had grown up in Qatar and a blonde, told me they were followed by Muslim men. The Indian student could speak Arabic, so she shouted at her stalkers. To shake off her stalker, the blonde went into a store and stayed there. Since these incidents happened after the Cologne mass sexual assault story, these young women were already leery of seeing Muslim men in public.
The architects of the War on Terror generate refugees, then expect Europe to absorb them. Speaking in Hanover on April 25th, 2016, Obama praised Merkel, “What’s happening with respect to her position on refugees here, in Europe, she’s on the right side of history on this […] She is giving a voice to the kinds of principles that bring people together rather than divide them.”
Hungary’s Viktor Orban has a different take, “This invasion is driven, on the one hand, by people smugglers, and on the other by those activists who support everything that weakens the nation-state. This Western mindset and this activist network is perhaps best represented by George Soros.”
Soros, “The benefits brought by migration far outweigh the costs of integrating immigrants. Skilled economic immigrants improve productivity, generate growth, and raise the absorptive capacity of the recipient country.”
Many progressive Jews support massive immigration in the West, but not in Israel. They criticize nationalism in the West, but not Israel. Though Jews may not be the Chosen People, Israel is certainly the Exempt Nation.
Soros is proud of his geopolitical flexing. To CNN, the man said, “Well, I set up a foundation in Ukraine before Ukraine became independent of Russia. And the foundation has been functioning ever since and played an important part in events now.”
The world has become habituated to hearing about Islamic barbarity in Europe. Yesterday, an 84-year-old French priest was forced to kneel, then had his throat slit by two men shouting, “Allahu Akbar!” Three days ago, a 27-year-old Syrian wounded twelve innocent people, three seriously, when he blew himself up in Germany. Sometimes the details surrounding these crimes are bizarre or inexplicable.
The same man, Richard Gutjahr, just happened to film the beginnings of the Nice truck attack (84 people killed, 303 injured) and Munich shooting (nine killed, with four others shot). He’s married to Israeli Einat Wilf, a former member of Knesset. Why did Gutjahr aim his camera at a McDonald’s entrance before anything happened? And how did the shooter appear out of nowhere, literally, for he didn’t walk out of any door? Study the footage.
Another video of the alleged shooter has him standing on top of a parking garage. Arguing with two Turks on a balcony across the street, Ali David Sonboly accused, “Because of you, I was ganged on for seven years,” and as they called him an asshole and a jerk-off, Sonboly explained, “I was born here. In a Hartz IV [welfare] area. Here in the Turkish section of Hasenbergl. I was in treatment. How is it my fault? I haven’t done anything.”
You are to conclude that Muslims can’t even stand each other, you see, so they’ll kill just about anybody.
A key aim of the War on Terror is to spread terror everywhere, so that the state, that master of terror, can be everywhere.
Linh Dinh is the author of two books of stories, five of poems, and a novel, Love Like Hate.
For 17 months, since the Minsk Agreements were signed in February 2015 to try to bring peace to the eastern Ukraine the Kiev regime, and its neo-Nazi and NATO allies, have been preparing for a new offensive against the east Ukraine republics. On July 22nd the Russian Ambassador Vitaly Churkin stated in a letter to the UN Security Council that “a relapse of large-scale military operations in eastern Ukraine may bury the process of peace settlement there.” He then called on Kiev’s allies to pressure Kiev to back off its war preparations which include the continuous shelling of civilian areas by Ukraine heavy and medium artillery and constant probing attacks by Ukraine and foreign units over the past spring and summer months.
The commander of the Donetsk Republic forces stated in a communiqué on July 22 that the region along the contact line between the two sides was shelled 3,566 times in one week alone ending on the date of the communiqué and confirmed the information set out in Churkin’s letter and reports of the Organisation For Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) that the Kiev regime had transferred more heavy artillery, mortars, tanks, multiple rocket launchers to the front.
The shelling has destroyed civilian housing, a water treatment plant and other infrastructure with the clear objective of forcing out the residents and to prepare the ground for a large scale offensive. Ambassador Churkin added that not only were regular Kiev forces massing in the east but they had also deployed the new-Nazi Azov and Donbas “volunteer” battalions, and that Kiev has begun a wide ranging seizure of land in the neutral zone and the towns located there.
Of course the blame for all these criminal actions by NATO and its marionettes in Kiev is placed on Russia as we have seen set out in both the Atlantic Council Report earlier this year and in the NATO Warsaw Communiqué on July 9th in which NATO put the ultimatum to Russia, “do what we say or you will see what we will do”. The day before Ambassador Churkin sent his letter to the Security Council, the French Foreign Minister, Jean-Marc Ayrault, in a speech at the Centre of Strategic and International Studies stated that the “sanctions”, that is, the economic war being carried out against Russia by the NATO countries, would only stop if Russia did what it was told.
The Germans have also made noises about being prepared to halt this economic warfare against Russia, about how much they regret it and how they desire only peace and harmony, but, again, only if Russia adheres to their demands.
The attacks on the Donbas republic civilian areas are of course war crimes and crimes against humanity to which the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court responds with her practiced silence despite the fact she has accepted two letters from the Kiev regime providing the ICC with jurisdiction to prosecute war crimes committed there. But, of course, neither Kiev, nor their NATO bosses that control the prosecutor of the ICC have any intention of laying war crimes charges against themselves.
The Russian fear of a renewed offensive against the Donbas republics is a real one since the Warsaw Communiqué issued by NATO on July 9th stated emphatically that NATO does not recognise the republics, that Ukraine needs to be reunited by force if necessary, and that Crimea must be returned to Ukraine. The increased military activity in eastern Ukraine is taking place at the same time that there is increased activity in the Baltic centred on the Russian base at Kaliningrad, a strategic objective for NATO in order to control the Baltic sea lanes and air space and the approaches to St. Petersburg. Crimea is an objective because of the Russian naval base at Sevastopol, the seizure of which was one of the primary objectives of the NATO coup that overthrew the government of President Yanukovich. It is the main objective in the on going NATO “Sea Breeze” naval exercise in the Black Sea.
The situation has become increasingly dangerous as the war against Russia is conducted without limits, that is, across all sectors of life from the military and economic to sports. The International Olympic Committee has now banned the core of the Russian Olympic track and field team from competing at the Games, plus any others who have faced doping allegations in the past, an act of collective punishment that is totally unjustified since it is based on the dubious statements of a wanted man in Russia, Grigory Rodchenkov, who is singing for his supper in the United States, and will sing any song they want him to. The whole scandal is motivated not by problems with doping, but by an attempt to further isolate Russia from the world and slander its leadership and people. The result is that the Olympic Games will be a farce both as a sports event and as a symbol of peace in the world and should be cancelled or boycotted.
On top of all this, compelling evidence is daily coming out that the attempted coup against the government of Turkey was instigated by the Americans and its partners in other NATO countries in order to stop President Erdogan from a rapprochement with Russia. The timing alone of the coup indicates that; for it took place just a few days after Erdogan apologised to President Putin regarding the shoot down of the Russian plane, and just after rumours circulated that he would kick the US out of their base at Incirlik and give it to Russia.
The Turkish government has accused the US of being involved at least indirectly by supporting Turkish Islamist émigré elements led by the cleric, Fethullah Gulen, an arch enemy of President Erdogan, who resides in the US and appears, to Erdogan, to be linked to the coup. Stories have also appeared in the Turkish press of the arrest of the two pilots that shot down the Russian plane over Syria, who happen to be, according to the accusations, the same two pilots that attempted to shoot down Erdogan’s plane the night of the coup. It is stated, though not confirmed, in the Turkish press that these two men worked for the CIA.
On Monday July 25th, it was reported in the Turkish press that American General John Campbell, former commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan was central to the planning of the coup and that it was financed with CIA money through meetings at the US base at Incirlik. If these accusations are correct then the attempted coup constitutes act of aggression by the United States and its allies against Turkey, an attack by NATO on a NATO member.
The British on the same day floated a story in the Daily Express that their special forces, the SAS, are ready to go into to Turkey to “rescue UK citizens” in the event of a second coup attempt and predicted civil war in Turkey of there is a second coup attempt. They stated,
“With fears rebels could be about to try to overthrow the government for a second time, which is likely to result in a Turkish civil war, troops have moved into neighbouring Cyprus and are preparing a rescue mission to save stranded Britons.
Defence chiefs have drawn up emergency plans and fully armed soldiers, together with members of the Special Forces Support Group, are ready to fly into areas popular with tourists and help families get home safely.
Hundreds of jets, helicopters and other aircraft will be drafted in to help the estimated 50,000 Brits flee the danger.”
This means that Britain as well as the US are prepared to help a second coup attempt against Erdogan and further confirms their involvement in the first coup attempt, as does the reported refusal of the Germans to allow Erdogan’s plane to enter German air space to seek refuge when it appeared he had been overthrown. That decision turned out to be a mistake as he quickly recovered his wits, returned to Turkey and broke the coup.
However this turns out, the principal target remains Russia. Erdogan’s rapprochement with Russia and falling out with NATO weakens NATO in its war against Russia and provides Russia with another card to play, even if it may be the Joker.
Meanwhile in the United States the war against Russia has become a dangerous internal political issue as the Clinton camp accuses Donald Trump of being a Russian agent and his campaign financed by Russian money, essentially accusing Trump of treason. Trump laughs all this off but the fact that these absurdities can even get the attention of the news media shows how desperate things are. New York Times columnist Andrew Rosenthal wrote a column on the 25th of July with the title “Is Donald Trump Putin’s Puppet” then proceeded to state that he was Putin’s pet poodle at the least.
But things get even more curious as the FBI states it is investigating whether emails “leaked” by Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks organisation, were provided to him by Russia after Russia hacked into the email system of the Democratic National Convention. The Russians deny this absurd charge but so far I have not seen Julian Assange deny that they are his source and we must wonder what his true motivations are if the effect of his “leak” is to have Russia accused of hacking into US government and political party email systems thereby supporting the NATO propaganda against Russia.
It also begs the question as to why Assange would get involved in American party politics at all by publishing emails that would supposedly damage the Clinton campaign for the benefit of the Trump campaign. Is he working for Trump? Is he working for Clinton trying to make it look like Trump works for Russia, or, as is more likely, is he working for those who want to bring down both Trump and Russia? Andrew Rosenthal for the Times, quipped, “it’s eerie, at best, that Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks chose this moment to release the stolen emails…”
But it is not so “eerie” if the exercise is meant to smear Russia and a candidate for President who is willing to at least talk with the Russians. Perhaps his supporters can ask him and report back what his answer is because his actions raise serious questions as to his motivations, his intentions, and his connections. Someone is playing us. It’s about time we found out who.
Short answer: nobody knows, but the media is treating it as a fact based primarily on a single technical source employed by the Democratic National Committee. I read the source’s publically available explanation. Here’s what I found.
A Quick Taste of Media Conclusions
Despite a line in paragraph five saying “Proving the source of a cyberattack is notoriously difficult,” the New York Times offers the following statements.
— “researchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by two Russian intelligence agencies;”
— “Though a hacker claimed responsibility for giving the emails to WikiLeaks, the same agencies are the prime suspects;”
— “Whether the thefts were ordered by Mr. Putin, or just carried out by apparatchiks who thought they might please him, is anyone’s guess.”
— “It is unclear how WikiLeaks obtained the email trove. But the presumption is that the intelligence agencies turned it over, either directly or through an intermediary. Moreover, the timing of the release, between the end of the Republican convention and the beginning of the Democratic one, seems too well planned to be coincidental.”
There’s more, but you get the picture. The article also quotes Clinton staffers citing unnamed experts and researchers.
Who Are These Experts?
The only experts cited work for a company hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate the hack. There is no indication of any neutral third party investigation. The company, Crowdstrike, issued a publicly available report on what they found.
The report title makes clear the company’s conclusion: Bears in the Midst: Intrusion into the Democratic National Committee.
What Does the Report Say?
The report has some technical explanations, but focuses on conclusions that seem to be at best presumptions, despite the media treating them as fact.
— The key presumptive conclusion seems to be that the sophistication of the hacks points to a nation-state actor. “Their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none and the extensive usage of ‘living-off-the-land’ techniques enables them to easily bypass many security solutions they encounter. In particular, we identified advanced methods consistent with nation-state level capabilities.”
— The hackers, two separate entities Crowdstrike says worked independently, used techniques known to be used by Russians. Better yet, with no evidence at all presented, Crowdstrike concludes, “Both adversaries engage in extensive political and economic espionage for the benefit of the government of the Russian Federation and are believed to be closely linked to the Russian government’s powerful and highly capable intelligence services.” Also, for one of the alleged hackers, “Extensive targeting of defense ministries and other military victims has been observed, the profile of which closely mirrors the strategic interests of the Russian government.”
— By the end of the report Crowdstrike is just plain out called the hackers “Russian espionage groups.”
FYI: Fidelis, another cybersecurity company, was hired by Crowdstrike to review the findings. Fidelis worked exclusively and only with data provided by Crowdstrike (as did several other companies.) Fidelis They concluded the same two hackers, COZY BEAR and FANCY BEAR APT, committed the intrusion, but made no comments on whether those two were linked to the Russian government.
Um, Valid Conclusions?
Despite the citing with certainty of experts and researchers by the media and the Clinton campaign, the only such expert who has made any findings public has basically thrown out little more than a bunch of presumptions and unsubstantiated conclusions.
Left undiscussed are:
— the commonality of hackers using “false flags,” say where an Israeli hacker will purposely leave behind false clues to make it seem that a Hungarian did the work. As one commentator put it sarcastically “The malware was written in Russian? It was a Russian who attacked you. Chinese characters in the code? You’ve been hacked by the Peoples Liberation Army.”
— the question of if the hackers were “Russians,” can anyone tie them to the Russian government? Joe Black Hat breaking into some system in Ireland may indeed be an American person, but it is quite a jump to claim he thus works for the American government.
— there is also a significant question of motive. For Putin to be the bad guy here, we have to believe that Putin wants Trump in power, bad enough to risk near-war with the U.S. if caught in the hack, and bad enough to really p.o. Clinton who will be nominated this week anyway, and hoping of course that evidence of dirty tricks by the DNC released in July will be enough to defeat her in November. That’s a real s-t-r-e-t-c-h, Sparky.
— other than those private persons who hack for their own entertainment or personal political beliefs, most work for money. They steal something and sell it. Information from the DNC system would find an easy buyer.
— Who might be interested in buying these emails? Along the range of actors who would benefit from exposing these emails, why would the Russians come out on top? Perhaps the Republicans? China? Pretty much any of the many enemies the Clintons have amassed over the years? Hell, even Bernie Sanders, whose complaints about the DNC were validated by the email release. The suspects based on motive alone make up a very long list.
For some intelligent analysis suspicious that the DNC hack was a Russian intelligence job, try this.
For some more technical information on one of the alleged DNC infiltrators, here you go.
Owen Jones – one time darling of the liberal Left, is now, officially, endorsing Hillary Clinton.
True, they changed the headline shortly after publication. It originally read “The Sanders movement is bigger than Bernie. Now it must work with Hillary” But someone snuck in with the scissors and paste and now the headline reads “The Sanders movement is bigger than Bernie. Now it must defeat Trump”.
But even if this might make Jones and his supporters feel a tad less queasy, it changes nothing. No matter how many sophisms and evasions are employed to try and make it seem he’s still standing by his principles even while he’s openly flouting all of them, Jones, who last year was defending Corbyn, is now endorsing Hillary “I will obliterate Iran” Clinton,
But you see Owen wants us to understand that Clinton isn’t Trump. And being not-Trump is always better than being Trump. So, even though Clinton also isn’t progressive, or honest, or sane, and even though she has no interest in helping the disadvantaged or rebuilding social infrastructure, and even though she conducted state business on a private email server so no one would be able to tell what nefarious and illegal, and potentially insanely dangerous things she was doing, and even though she presided over the Honduras debacle, and even though she authorised and gloated over the illegal murder of a foreign head of state, and even though she has threatened to “obliterate” Iran and take the confrontations with Russia and China to new heights that really might result in WW3, we absolutely have to get behind her because – hello – she isn’t Trump. And anyhow if we get her to be POTUS and make sure there are lots of lovely Democrats in Congress, maybe we can ask them to please do some of the socialist things Bernie talked about. They will probably say yes, of course And anyhow, Owen’s not sure if he mentioned this but Hillary isn’t Trump…
Yes, this is what passes for political analysis when the neolibs are slipping you wads of cash to endorse the unendorsable, the discredited and the morally broken.
The likes of Jones are paid to surrender their dignity and ethics and pretend this macabre farce is something called “democracy”, and to sell the decaying relics offered up for candidacy as if they were real choices. That doesn’t mean we have to pretend to believe them. If I were a US citizen I’d take the only truly free choice left and decline to play this game of fake reality any longer. And if we all did that, the game would be over, wouldn’t it.
I spent last week in Guantánamo Bay, where I was supposed to be observing four days of pre-trial hearings in the military commission prosecution of the 9/11 defendants. But as is so often the case, on three of those days, the hearings were closed. On the single day of open hearings, the proceeding focused on the government’s destruction of key evidence in the case. This past weekend, defense lawyers confirmed that the evidence concerns a secret CIA black site abroad where the defendants and others were severely tortured.
Almost 15 years have passed since the attacks of 9/11, and yet the Guantánamo military commissions are still muddling through pre-trial motions, with virtually the same confusion and lack of transparency that has characterized these proceedings for years. The dichotomy between the importance of the proceedings and their virtual absence from public discourse is astonishing.
The proceedings that did take place last week focused on the government’s destruction of evidence, which may have been irreplaceable for the defense, and over which the judge had issued a protective order. Defense attorney David Nevin, who represents Khalid Sheikh Mohammad, referred to this evidence as “among the most important evidence of the case.” As Nevin argued, the government’s torture and mistreatment of the defendants is central to the question of whether they can lawfully be subject to the death penalty.
This key issue has been percolating for some time.
More than two years ago, the judge presiding over the trial, Army Col. James L. Pohl, issued a protective order to preserve what’s now confirmed as CIA black site evidence. At some point after that, the prosecution had a closed-door hearing with Judge Pohl. Without defense counsel’s participation or even knowledge, the prosecution convinced the judge to lift the protective order, and the government then destroyed the evidence. The defense lawyers said they didn’t know that the protective order had been lifted and the evidence destroyed until 18 months after the fact, at which point it was far too late to go to court to prevent the damage. Although the prosecution characterized the lack of notice about the evidence’s destruction as “regrettable,” it claims that no harm resulted.
Because of the secret destruction of this critical evidence, the defense team requested that both the prosecution team and Judge Pohl be recused and that a separate judge decide whether recusal is appropriate. On Thursday, defending the secrecy in which the evidence was destroyed, prosecutor Bob Swann said to Judge Pohl, “There is no reason to recuse yourself. You have done nothing wrong, nor have we.”
The public doesn’t know exactly what this evidence consisted of or whether the government may still be able to remedy some of the damage. But what is important here is that evidence – in particular, evidence of torture and mistreatment of the defendants – was withheld from the defense and deliberately destroyed in one of the most important capital cases in U.S. history.
If I could distill one message from the prosecution’s argument on Thursday, it was this: The government’s right to secrecy trumps other considerations, including the defendants’ rights. This argument applied to evidence of the shocking torture to which these men were subjected, rendering it an inconvenient but irrelevant fact. With public support for torture on the rise and a presidential candidate who openly applauds torture and wants to return to the most extreme forms of inhuman and degrading treatment, the government’s apparent efforts to obfuscate its use of torture are deeply troubling.
When these proceedings began, the Bush-era torture policies were still in place. When Obama came into office in 2009, he confirmed an end to those policies, renounced torture, and vowed to close the Guantánamo detention center within a year. Now, nearly eight years later, Guantánamo is still open, and the most important terrorism trial in our country’s history is stumbling through initial proceedings, marred by yet more allegations of government misconduct.With President Obama’s departure on the horizon and his legacy at stake, there has been nothing that resembles justice coming out of these Guantanamo tribunals.
Sanders didn’t just fall from grace. He crashed, burned and resoundingly proved politicians can never be trusted.
Nothing they say is credible. For months, supporters believed he was the anti-Clinton, campaigning against what she represents – an agenda of endless wars of aggression, world peace at risk, neoliberal harshness, police state terror, the worst of all possible worlds.
She’s the most recklessly dangerous choice for president in US history, the most wicked, the most legally, ethically and morally challenged.
In mid-July, Sanders sold out, betrayed his loyal supporters, proved himself just another self-serving dirty politician by endorsing Clinton, embarrassing himself in the process.
On day one of the Democrat War Party convention, he again made a spectacle of himself before a nationwide audience – assuming the role of Clinton puppet, relegating himself to irrelevance.
He touted a “political revolution” the whole world knows is fake. His populist rhetoric resoundingly rang hollow. Who can believe anything a Judas says, a despicable scoundrel selling out to wealth and power while continuing the charade of supporting populism over privilege.
Bush/Obama policies created a protracted Main Street Depression. Half of US households are impoverished or bordering it. Workers need two or more rotten jobs to survive if they can find them.
America resembles Guatemala, not the home of the free and the brave, beautiful for its privileged class alone, a classic example of thirdworldism.
Sanders lied claiming “(w)e have come a long way in the last 7 1/2 years, and I thank President Obama and Vice President Biden for their leadership in pulling us out of that terrible recession.”
What a shameless misrepresentation of harsh reality! He put his thumb in the eyes of tens of millions of suffering Americans – one missed paycheck away from homelessness, hunger and despair.
He praised Obama instead of condemning him, duplicitously claiming Clinton supports a progressive agenda, a scandalous perversion of truth.
The rest of his remarks included similar mumbo jumbo rubbish repeated endlessly while campaigning -meaningless rhetoric, exposed by endorsing Clinton, shamelessly praising her, bashing Trump.
He reduced himself to a caricature of the phony persona he displayed on the stump. Support for Clinton means endorsing imperial wars, democracy for the few alone and tyranny heading toward becoming full-blown while pretending otherwise.
Saying “Hillary Clinton will make an outstanding president, and I am proud to stand with her here tonight” showed everything he claims to stand for is a Big Lie.
It’s pure fantasy, duplicitous doublespeak, the lowest denominator of political dishonesty, stringing along his supporters, betraying them when it most mattered.
His soul was for sale all along. He’s now a footnote in the deplorable history of US politics, hugely corrupted, impossible to fix.
Stephen Lendman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.
For months, Bernie Sanders supporters and surrogates have complained about unfair treatment from the Democratic National Committee—only to have these concerns dismissed by media observers as petulance and conspiracy-mongering:
- Mediaite: Bernie Sanders Fans’ DNC ‘Collusion’ Conspiracy Theory Is Embarrassing Garbage
- LA Times: ‘Hillary Clinton Is Not Winning Because of a Conspiracy’
- Daily Kos: ‘There Was the General Conspiracy Theory That Everyone at the DNC Was Out to Get Him’
This weekend, Wikileaks revealed thousands of hacked emails from within the DNC that showed what the New York Times described as “hostility” and “derision” towards the Sanders campaign from top party officials.
While it’s impossible to know whether systemic pro-Hillary Clinton bias at the DNC was decisive in the 2016 Democratic primary race, we now know beyond any doubt that such a bias not only existed, but was endemic and widespread. DNC officials worked to plant pro-Clinton stories, floated the idea of using Sanders’ secular Judaism against him in the South, and routinely ran PR spin for Clinton, even as the DNC claimed over and over it was neutral in the primary. The evidence in the leaks was so clear that Debbie Wasserman Schultz has resigned her role as DNC chair—after her speaking role at the Democratic National Convention this week was scrapped—while DNC co-chair Donna Brazile, who is replacing Wasserman Schultz in the top role, has apologized to the Sanders camp.
Pro-Clinton pundits were quick to dismiss what was literally a conspiracy to railroad the Sanders campaign as nothing more than a yawn:
So what was once dismissed out of hand—that the DNC was actively working against the Sanders campaign—is now obviously true, but not a big deal. This is a textbook PR spin pattern seen time and time again, what might be called the Snowden Cycle: X is a flaky conspiracy theory → X is revealed to be true → X is totally obvious and not newsworthy.
Instead, Clinton partisans decided to focus on the alleged Russian links behind the DNC hack. Talking Points Memo editor Josh Marshall (7/23/16) released a rather paranoid rundown the day of the leaks on how Putin was conspiring with Trump (a fairly good debunking of which can be found here), soon after dismissing the substance of the leaks as Russian propaganda white noise. Many soon followed suit: The DNC leaks as Russian spy operation was the preferred talking point of the day, omitting or glossing over what the leaks actually entailed.
The actual culpability of Russia for those leaks, it’s worth noting, is still unproven. The only three parties that have audited the hack are contractors for the US government, and the DNC’s initial story has since changed considerably. At first the DNC (and by extension their security firm CrowdStrike) said ”no financial, donor or personal information appears to have been accessed or taken,” but this later turned out not to be true at all.
Six weeks since the hack was first revealed by the Washington Post (6/14/16), no one in the US government, including the FBI and White House (who have reportedly reviewed the situation in detail), have implicated or even suggested Russian involvement in the leak–neither on the record nor anonymously. Thus far, all suggestions to this effect have taken place outside the organs of the United States government — a common and deliberate conflation that even led to this correction in the Vox recap of the situation (7/23/16):
Correction: I misread the Washington Post‘s story on last month’s DNC hack and misattributed the Russia link to the US government rather than independent security researchers.
Thus far, the Obama administration has avoided any such claims. Indeed, if one reads carefully, so have the security firms in question. Buried in the followup report by the Washington Post (6/20/16) alleging “confirmation” of Russian involvement is the admission by the three firms (the “experts” Clinton’s camp refers to) that they cannot be sure WikiLeaks’ alleged source Guccifer 2.0 is Russian, let alone an agent of “Putin”:
Analysts suspect but don’t have hard evidence that Guccifer 2.0 is, in fact, part of one of the Russian groups who hacked the DNC….
It is also possible, researchers said, that someone else besides the Russians were inside the DNC’s network and had access to the same documents.
The evidence typically cited to counter this discrepancy is from an alleged chat Guccifer 2.0 had with Vice (6/16/16) showing fingerprints of a Russian plot. But the two pieces of evidence in question–that Russian metadata was left on the files and the person in question couldn’t speak native Romanian–raise more questions than they answer. If this was such a high-level FSB plot, why couldn’t the once legendary “KGB” scrub routine metadata, or find someone who speaks native Romanian? Either Russia is an omnipotent threat wielding its influence over the US and Europe’s otherwise pristine body politic, or they’re a bunch of incompetent bumbling idiots. Meanwhile, actual evidence for Russia’s involvement, as Vox notes, remains elusive.
The DNC’s interest in painting this as a Russian plot also bears mentioning. Around the same time this was going down, Bloomberg (6/22/16) suggested the DNC itself was looking to play up the Russian espionage angle as a means of obfuscating what they knew would be “embarrassing revelations”:
A spokesman for Baker & McKenzie didn’t respond to requests for comment. DNC spokesman Luis Miranda said the party worked only with CrowdStrike and the law firm Perkins Coie.
If the Democrats can show the hidden hand of Russian intelligence agencies, they believe that voter outrage will probably outweigh any embarrassing revelations, a person familiar with the party’s thinking said.
This strategy, as explained by a DNC insider a month ago, is now playing out exactly as predicted: The “outrage” over Russia’s “hidden hand” is being used to outweigh the damning substance of the leak itself. Parlay this with the recent uptick in “Trump as Putin puppet” conspiracy takes, and what you have is a clear picture of a partisan media that would rather float pitches for a Manchurian Candidate reboot than confront the repeated attempts by an ostensibly neutral DNC to undermine one candidate in favor of another.
As you almost certainly know by now, on Friday Wikileaks released a bunch of hacked DNC emails just before the Democratic Presidential convention kicked off. While Wikileaks hasn’t quite said where it got the emails, speculation among many quickly pointed to Russian state sponsored hackers. That’s because of the revelation last month of two sets of hackers breaching the DNC’s computer system and swiping (at the very least) opposition research on Donald Trump. Various cybersecurity research firms, starting with CrowdStrike, which was hired by the DNC to investigate, pointed the finger at the Russians.
Of course, whether or not you believe that may depend on how credible you find the big cybersecurity firms like CrowdStrike, FireEye and Mandiant (the big names that always pop up in situations like this). For what it’s worth, these guys have something of a vested interest in playing up the threat of big hacks from nation-state level hackers. For a good analysis of why this finger-pointing may be less than credible, I recommend two articles by Jeffrey Carr, one noting that these firms come from a history of “faith-based attribution” whereby they are never held accountable for being wrong — and another highlighting serious questions about the designation of Russia as being responsible for this particular hack (he notes that some of the research appeared to come pre-arrived at that conclusion, and then ignored any evidence to the contrary).
Still, the claim that the data came from the Russians has become something of a story itself. And, of course, who did the hack and got the info is absolutely a news story. But it’s an entirely separate one from whether or not the leaked emails contain anything useful or newsworthy. And yet, because this is the peak of political silly season, some are freaking out and claiming that anyone reporting on these emails “has been played” by Putin and Russia. Leaving aside the fact that people like to claim that Russia’s behind all sorts of politicians that some don’t like, that should be entirely unrelated to whether or not the story is worth covering.
And yet, we already have stories arguing that “Putin weaponized Wikileaks to influence” the US election. That’s ridiculous on multiple levels. Wikileaks releases all kinds of stuff, whether you agree with them or not. And the idea that this will actually impact the election seems… unlikely. Is the (not at all surprising) fact that the DNC is full of cronyism and favoritism really suddenly going to shift voters to Trump? Of course, Wikileaks implicitly threatening someone with legal action for saying there’s a connection between Russia and Wikileaks is pretty ridiculous as well.
To some extent, this reminds me of some people who freaked out over the Sony Pictures hack, a while back. There the culprit blamed was North Korea, a claim that at least many people remained skeptical of. But, even so, there were some (including Sony) who tried to argue that no one should report on the contents of the emails because it would somehow support the North Korean regime’s goals.
Yes, whoever is behind such hacks is a story. But it does nothing to lessen or impact whether or not the leaked emails themselves are newsworthy. Arguing against anyone publishing stories about them just because they may have begun with Russian hackers is just a way of desperately trying to block embarrassing stories about the DNC from getting published.
Ted Cruz has more balls than Bernie Sanders
Wikileaks over the last few days dumped tens of thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) server.
The disclosures of dirty tricks directed against Bernie Sanders contained in those emails are startling, and only add to the whirlpool of corruption and sleaze surrounding Hillary Clinton and the wheezing corpse of the democratic process.
There’s a lot to unpack here:
— The same people on the Clinton team who made enormous efforts to claim her private email server, which operated unencrypted over the Internet for three months including during trips to China and Russia and which contained Top Secret national security data, was not hacked by the Russians now are certain that the DNC server was hacked by the Russians.
— Many in Camp Clinton and the media labeled Bernie Sanders’ supporters as paranoid when they made claims during the primaries that the DNC was working against them. The hacked emails confirm the DNC was working against them, including suggestions that the DNC find ways to suggest Sanders was an atheist to discredit him in religious areas.
— Persons who claimed many in the media, including CNN, were biased in favor of the Clinton campaign during the primaries were dismissed. The hacked emails confirm the DNC was working closely with the media to seek negative coverage of Sanders and positive coverage of Clinton.
— Politico now admits it was a “mistake” sending the DNC an article draft in advance. The writer showed the draft to the DNC even before his own editors saw it.
— Facebook admits to blocking Wikileaks links to the DNC email hack from its newsfeeds (but blames spam filters.)
— The DNC appears to have expended significantly more effort toward defeating Bernie Sanders than they did against any of the Republican candidates.
And some more:
— Instead of focusing on the contents of the hacked emails and the dirty tricks they exposed, many mainstream media outlets headlined instead the Clinton campaign talking points that the Russians hacked the emails and released them in an effort to derail her candidacy in favor of Donald Trump. Many of the same stories suggest Trump is some sort of pro-Putin stooge.
— On 60 Minutes, Clinton refused to say intervention by the DNC to favor one candidate was “improper.” Her non-answer was edited out of the interview broadcast.
— After DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz announced her resignation following this week’s Democratic convention, the Clinton campaign announced Wasserman Schultz would be hired by them as “honorary chair of Hillary’s campaign’s 50-state program to elect Democrats in every part of the country, and as a surrogate for her campaign nationally.”
— Debbie Wasserman Schultz will be replaced as DNC chair by (only now former) CNN commentator Donna Brazile. Brazile argued the pro-Clinton side of debates on CNN throughout the primary season.
— In the hacked emails, Brazile said “I will cuss out the Sanders camp!” over complaints by Sanders of inadequate representation by the DNC. In March while still employed by CNN, Brazile called Sanders’ decision to run as a Democrat for the additional media exposure “extremely disgraceful.”
And very sadly:
— Bernie Sanders, his campaign sabotaged by the DNC with what were once “paranoid” accusations now proved, still endorses Hillary Clinton and will still speak at the Democratic National Convention.
It pains me to say as his once-supporter that the man has no courage. Even Ted Cruz stood up for himself in front of the Republicans in Cleveland. It is a sad day when we learn Ted Cruz has more balls than Bernie Sanders.
Those who are calling all this a coup of sorts, they’re wrong. It’s a surrender. But in the words of Hillary Clinton, what difference does it make?
In remarks from the Democratic National Convention stage applauded by big media, Sarah Silverman lauded the Democratic Party primary process as “exemplary”.
I guess that’s why she’s a comedian.
Perhaps she doesn’t know who Debbie Wasserman Schultz is. Perhaps she doesn’t know that Schultz just resigned as head of the Democratic National Committee after the release by WikiLeaks of DNC internal emails showing evidence of them conspiring against Sanders. Of course, Schultz was then immediately named “honorary chair” of the Clinton campaign. Schultz as “honorary” anything — now that’s funny.
Hey Sarah, check this out: “DNC Staffers Mocked the Bernie Sanders Campaign, Leaked Emails Show“. Julian Assange accused the Democratic National Committee of “naked conspiracies” against Bernie Sanders.
Still, Silverman insisted: “This Democratic primary was exemplary. No name calling … that stuff is for third graders.”
Yes, name calling is for third graders. Which I guess is why she then blurted out “Can I just say, to the Bernie or Bust people, you’re being ridiculous.”
Wow, there’s a well-reasoned argument. “You’re being ridiculous.”
I have mixed feelings about people shouting in a hall, but what was really ridiculous was that as I flipped from network to network, none seems to want to tell me what it was the delegates were chanting. After poking around my twitter feed, here’s some of what they were apparently saying — more substantial than the speeches from the podium:
“Tax Wall Street!” and “Release the transcripts!” and “99 percent!” and, as it was claimed that Clinton would be tough on Wall Street: “Goldman Sachs! Goldman Sachs!” and “We trusted you! We trusted you!” (to Elizebeth Warren) and apparently, at one point, they referred to the DNC scandal — “Wikileaks! Wikileaks! Wikileaks!” When Bernie Sanders talked about Hillary Clinton on crime, some shouted “super predators!”
But who wants to hear what delegates think when we have Sarah Silverman making STD jokes about “feel the burn”?
Not that activists shouldn’t be questioned. I’ve had my own criticisms of #BernieOrBust for some time. Some of them have made a cult out of an obviously flawed man, who it’s been apparent for weeks if not months would not get the nomination. Backing Sanders should be a tactic, not the goal. His supporters now should use the VotePact.org voting strategy — see in my piece “#BernieAndBoom.” This would mean disenchanted Democrats and disenchanted Republicans who know and trust each other pairing up and vote for the independent candidates of their choice, like the Green or Libertarian candidates. Methodical action is the order of the day in the coming weeks, months and years.
And I don’t mean to be too hard on Silverman. After all, I don’t think her performance with Al Franken was quite the unintentionally funniest bit on Monday night.
I thought it was hilarious when Elizabeth Warren tried to paint Clinton as someone who would stand up to Wall Street. And I thought it was unintentionally uproariously funny when the much touted “first Muslim” member of Congress, Keith Ellison, introduced Sanders without a mention of perpetual U.S. wars — which have killed hundreds of thousands of Muslims over the last several decades. Seeing the king of rhetoric, Bill Clinton applauding speakers like some kind of phony wise man was sickeningly priceless. And there was comedic irony in Cory Booker’s endless empty platitudes about “courage” and such as grassroots activists showed some degree of actual courage — struggling to find a way to be heard in a rigged system.
Silverman also said: “My shrink says we don’t get what we want, we get what we think we deserve.” So, maybe that’s what she thinks she deserves: a corporate, militaristic candidate serving the interests of the elite — of which Silverman is a member at this point.
The sign many were waving last night — “love trumps hate” — was way off. Clinton — “we came, we saw, he died” (about Qaddafi) — is the candidate of love? Really? The Clinton message is actually “fear trumps Trump”. Even as speaker after speaker at the DNC attacked Trump for instilling fear (true enough), their own go-to message was: Back Hillary because the Donald should arouse such fear in you that all other thought processes should immediately shut down.
So it took extra chutzpah, and comedic gold, for Silverman to saying that “I will vote for Hillary with gusto” — showing for all to see her extraordinary delusion.
This is a world view in which substance, debate and democracy must be avoided. The New York Times headlined a piece “Sarah Silverman tames the Bernie beast” — echoing the now fashionable founding money man of the one percent Alexander Hamilton’s derision of the general public: “Your people, sir — your people is a great beast!”
Appropriately, just as Sanders ended his own sad speech, which induced tears of grief among his perhaps naive delegates, the choreographers of the evening’s festivities chimed in a riff from “Taking it to the Street” — perhaps they didn’t think to look at the rest of the lyrics of the song:
You, telling me the things you’re gonna do for me
I ain’t blind and I don’t like what I think I see
Quite appropriate for an evening of promises on behalf of the corporate candidate of perpetual wars who has just again reiterated her actual big money allegiance with her vice presidential pick — to the delight of a stage managed, big media driven system appalled by the threat of accountability and democracy actually breaking out.
More fraud from Climate Central.
The Washington Post reports:
By Jason Samenow July 14
The temperature Thursday in Washington soared to 98 degrees, the hottest so far this summer. The heat index, which factors in humidity, registered 104 degrees.
Get used to it.
An analysis released Wednesday by Climate Central, a nonprofit science communication group based in Princeton, N.J., says these kinds of brutally hot and humid days are becoming more common.
Climate Central’s States at Risk project, featuring an interactive website, not only analyzed historical heat and humidity data to document observed trends but also, using climate models, projected how hot and humid days will evolve into the future.
All data point toward steamier times ahead.
Hot and humid days up substantially since 1970
The District is now sweltering in 95-degree heat on 7.5 more days per year than it did in 1970, Climate Central says. In 1970, D.C. averaged seven or eight 95-degree (or hotter) days in a typical year. Now the number is closer to 15. In the scorching summer of 2012, we had a record-tying 28 such days.
The nearest long running station to Washington is Laurel, in Maryland, just 17 miles away.
The USHCN whisker plot of daily maximum temperatures shows that daily temperatures are not increasing, and were actually highest in the 1930s.
It is easy to see why Climate Central used 1970 as their starting point.
As CDIAC show below, most daily summer temperature records in Maryland were set prior to 1960, while the cold 1970s is plainly evident. (Bear in mind, these daily records include ties, so the probability of a record should be the same in every decade, assuming an unchanged climate).
This carefully constructed deception is all designed to convince us that summers will become increasingly hot in the future, as the article goes on to state:
D.C.’s summer climate to resemble South Texas?
Using projections of summer warming by 2100, Climate Central says D.C.’s climate will, by then, most resemble today’s typical summer environs in Pharr, Texas — a Mexico border town. That is, it projects D.C.’s average summer high temperature to rise from roughly 87 degrees to 97 degrees.
Of course, such projections are based on climate models which assume the emissions of greenhouse gases will continue unabated through the end of the century. If the global community finds ways to cut emissions, the warming would not be this steep. Also, if the climate is less sensitive to increases in greenhouse gases than assumed by these models, the warming would be less.
But, observed data make it clear the D.C. area is on a warming trajectory.
Climate Central’s analysis documents similar trends in hundreds of metro areas across the Lower 48. “Using several measures, our findings show that most U.S. cities have already experienced large increases in extreme summer heat and absolute humidity, which together can cause serious heat-related health problems,” the analysis states.
The Washington Post article is written by Jason Samenow, their weather editor and chief meteorologist of the Capital Weather Gang. He should be ashamed of himself for publishing such blatant propaganda from the politically motivated Climate Central.
Indeed, his failure to carry out even the most basic checks on their grossly misleading analysis surely raises questions about whether he has the ability and objectivity to do his job properly.